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Idaho Birding Trail LogoMale Sage GrouseMountain Bluebird
East Central Region

Pennal Gulch Sportsman's Access

Nearest Town: Challis
Site Size: 2 linear miles

Highlights: Raptors, Shorebirds, Songbirds, Upland Birds, Waterbirds, Waterfowl

Access: Snow may limit vehicle access. Access free of charge.

Site Location

Directions: From Challis, US 93 N ~2 mi; at mp 248.7, turn R (E) (this rd veers N and is marked on US 93 with Pennal Gulch “Sportsman’s Access” signs); go ~0.5 mi; R (E) at second right (not the private drive) onto main county access road; go 0.7 mi; L (N) onto Public Access Rd (signed “Day Use Only”) 0.9 mi to Salmon River. Please respect private property postings along the access rd.

Description: This trail navigates through Salmon River floodplain wetlands, agricultural meadows, and cottonwood forests. Bird species include both rare seasonal migrants and common summer residents. In the wet ranch meadows, look for Sandhill Crane, Long-billed Curlew, and raptors, including Prairie Falcon, Merlin, and Northern Harrier. Cattail patches are good areas to find Sora, Virginia Rail, Marsh Wren, and Yellow-headed and Red-winged Blackbirds. Scan utility lines and fence wires for perched Tree, Bank, Cliff, and Barn Swallows. At the left turn onto the Public Access Road, check the fields toward the Salmon River for Wild Turkey. About 0.3 mile north of this turn, scan the backwater ponds on either side of the road for Cinnamon Teal and Wood Duck. Another 0.2 mile north, search the aspen and cottonwood trees for Red-naped Sapsucker, Veery, Yellow Warbler, and Northern Waterthrush. Along the Salmon River, check the banks for American Dipper, Spotted Sandpiper, and Belted Kingfisher and search the cliffs on the opposite bank for White-throated Swift and Peregrine Falcon.

More Information:
IDFG (208) 756-2271
Challis Chamber of Commerce (208) 879-2771

Pennal Gulch
Photo Copyright Dave & Elise Faike
Pennal Gulch
Photo Copyright Dave & Elise Faike
Pennal Gluch, Whitman Pond
Photo Copyright Dave & Elise Faike
Yellow-headed Blackbird
Photo Copyright Tom Munson

General Services:
ParkingNo RestroomsNo PhoneNo BoardwalkNo CampgroundNo Picnic AreaNo Observation AreaNo Visitor CenterNo Interpretive Material AvailableBoat RampNo ConcessionsNo Hiking TrailsNo HuntingNo FishingNo Water SportsNo OHV/ATVs AllowedNo Horseback Riding

Handicapped Services:
No ParkingNo RestroomsNo PhoneNo BoardwalkNo CampgroundNo Picnic AreaNo Observation AreaNo Visitor CenterNo Interpretive MaterialsNo Boat RampNo ConcessionsNo Hiking Trails
What do these icons mean?

agriculture Graph illustrating 40% 40%
riverine riparian Graph illustrating 60% 60%

Best Observation Times
Bird Species Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec AM/PM
Raptors Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y ALL
Shorebirds N N N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y N N ALL
Songbirds N N N N Y Y Y Y Y N N N ALL
Upland Birds Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y ALL
Waterbirds N N N Y Y Y Y Y Y N N N ALL
Waterfowl N N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y N ALL
Target Species for this Site

Select a species from the list to view other sites on the Idaho Birding Trail Sites this species may be observed.

    Blackbirds and alliesCranesGeese, Swans and DucksGrouse and TurkeyHawks and EaglesKingfisherRails and CootsShorebirdsSwallowsSwiftsThrushesWood WarblersWoodpeckersWrens and Dipper


    R - Resident 1 - Abundant, easily found s - Statewide
    M - Migrant 2 - Common, but sometimes difficult to find e - Southeast
    W - Winter 3 - Uncommon or local w - Southwest
    S - Summer 4 - Rare or very local c - Central
    5 - Casual, 3-10 accepted records p - Panhandle (North)
    6 - Accidental, 1-2 accepted records
    7 - Experimental
    (B) - Documented breeding evidence(End) - Threatened or Endangered
    (b) - Circumstantial breeding evidence(Int.) - Introduced species

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